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East Lansing Public Schools classes staying remote through October

Published: Sep. 28, 2020 at 9:15 AM EDT
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EAST LANSING, Mich. (WILX) - One mid-Michigan school district does not appear to be heading back to the classroom soon.

East Lansing Public Schools (ELPS) Superintendent Dori Leyko is recommending to the ELPS Board of Education that classes continue to be held remotely through Oct. 30.

The ELPS Board of Education has a regularly scheduled meeting for Sept. 28 where the board is expected to take action on the recommendation.

In August, The ELPS Board of Education approved Leyko’s recommendation to start the school year remotely through Sept. 30. Leyko and the board said they would revisit the idea of reopening at the end of September.

In an email to board members on Sept. 27, Leyko wrote, “Based on county and local data, I am recommending that ELPS extend online instructional delivery through October 30, 2020.” Leyko continued, “The Board of Education will be asked to take action on that recommendation at Monday’s (9/28/20) meeting. We will survey our stakeholders again in mid-October to inform future programming decisions.”

Leyko also wrote that ELPS is already working with teachers and families as they prepare to bring back some students with disabilities and other special populations, as local health conditions permit.

East Lansing Public Schools held a bond meeting on Monday night where Superintendent Dori Leyko addressed people’s desires to re-enter the classroom for face-to-face learning.

“I know there’s a desire to want to see it as soon as possible. I just want to say that I could’ve had an plan out maybe a month ago, but it probably would’ve changed 2-3 times by now,” said Superintendent Leyko.

With East Lansing Public Schools staying virtual through October 30, Leyko tried to assure the community they would come up with an effective strategy to return.

“What I can assure you is we’ll put out a really thoughtful plan. Our plan will be well informed by data and information from feedback we’ve learned from other leaders who have kids in school right now. But, also by multiple stakeholder groups,” he said.

After Leyko’s comments community members gave their remarks. Two parents spoke about placing their children into private school so they could receive the face-to-face learning they need.

“We’re disappointed in the complete lack of creativity shown in advancing any other idea than full distance education. Ideas such as outdoor classes, partial day in-person programs, or any other support aids for younger special needs or emotionally needy children seemed to have not even been considered," said Brian Titus, an ELPS parent.

“I don’t know if you realize, but there’s colleges out there that went live, went to an online, and are going to be back live before we have a plan the table possibly for our kids. We talk about 14 different stakeholders and everything like that. But, there is one stakeholder that never gets mentioned. I feel like and it’s the kids, which is the number one concern,” said Joshua Barber, who is another ELPS parent.

The district hopes to have a plan ready by their next school board meeting in two weeks.

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